Almost everybody who rides a Mountain Bike, or has bought a Mountain Bike in recent years, will be riding a bike which has been fitted with Disc Brakes. Disc Brakes have long been the brake type of choice for mountain bikers, compared to older types of brakes which provide a far inferior performance. Disc Brakes provide powerful and efficient braking performance on mountain bikes, allowing the rider to have complete control over how their bike stops and performs. These brakes work by a hydraulically operated caliper, or an actuated caliper applying brake pads onto the brake rotor, or disc to bring the bike to a halt.
The most popular type of disc brakes on mountain bikes are hydraulically operated, with brake fluid being used to pressure the caliper and in turn the pad, onto the rotor. Advantages of Hydraulic Disc Brakes VS Actuated Disc Brakes are plentiful, they are lighter, more reliable, are better to use, and are more powerful than actuated brakes.
One of the greatest things about the mountain bike industry in recent years, is how competitive pricing has become - and how much expensive technology has decreased in price. Disc Brakes are definitely a component which has come down in price, and a great example of a component which is accessible to all. This is good for a number of reasons, not only can disc brakes be found on cheaper mountain bikes as standard, but it’s also an affordable option to be able to retrofit disc brakes to a mountain bike, as long as your bike has a hub that has fittings for a disc rotor, and frame and forks which allow the mounting of disc calipers.
Research and design however, has given rise to a number of different types of disc brake pads being available. Pads are the part of the braking system which applies pressure to the disc brake rotor, slowing and stopping the bike.
Sintered Pads are the toughest type of pads available, and for this reason are the most popular. Although not as powerful as some types of pads, they provide excellent performance across the longest period of time.
Organic Pads are the most powerful type of brake pad, made from organic compounds and materials. These are the most powerful type, but do wear out relatively quickly compared to Sintered pads.
Semi Organic Pads provide a balance of the two above types.
The Disc Brake Rotor is a metal disc which is fitted to both the front wheel and rear wheel of a mountain bike. When you pull the brake on your bike, aforementioned brake pads grip the rotor and slow the bike down to an eventual stop. The main, and most obvious difference between different types of Disc Brake Rotors is the size available - with the larger the disc brake, generating more stopping power on the wheel of your mountain bike.
Although we have discussed some of the advantages of disc brakes above, it’s well worth looking at the topic in more detail. As well as providing quicker stopping performance, that’s only one part of the advantages that riders enjoy when using disc brakes. Disc Brakes provide excellent progressive braking, allowing the rider to have complete control over the rate of braking and slowing down, equalling more control and an often quicker ride. Disc Brakes also excel in all weather conditions, meaning that riding is safer - and you can have more confidence in the performance of your bike. Rim Brakes meanwhile, can struggle in poor weather conditions, once wet.
At Westbrook Cycles, we stock and supply a fantastic range of mountain bike disc brakes, which we supply online to our customers. These customers are either replacing the disc brakes on their bike with an equivalent set of disc brakes, or are upgrading the disc brakes on their bike, with a better performing kit.
You can view our full collection of mountain bike disc brakes here, and as always - get in touch if you have any questions.